Teleman @ Cambridge Junction 23/04/2019 Review

There is nothing better than a show at an old school music venue on a school night. We were looking forward to catching the second date in the short Teleman Tour. Kane and myself turned up early to grab an interview with the charismatic four piece, while the support act, Uh, were performing their soundcheck. We were surprised that the usual queues at The Junction were not forming, but put it down to people getting a bite to eat before the show.

The Junction is a great venue for getting close up to the action. It is purpose built on the old cattle market site and holds a capacity of 850 people. The acoustics are always good and it is basically a square space with a small stage against one wall, the mixing desk normally against the opposing wall, and the rest of the dark space for the crowd. Small bars either side mean you can get cold drinks without missing the action. It’s also very well set up for people with disabilities with helpful staff on hand, so it is pretty much all that a music venue should be.

The venue was slowly filling up when the support band, Uh, took to the stage. A male and female duo, Uh announced that they were going to start with meditation. They then went on to play a hypnotic electronica song with spoken lyrics. Their set contained various songs of a similar ilk, which at least got the crowd swaying. It was all in all very ‘Cambridge’.

Once they had completed the stage was bathed in blue with the customary smoke slowly filling the area. We noticed that the venue was now full, and our first fears that it was going to be a quiet night were unfounded. The very eclectic crowd waited patiently until the appearance of the main act was signalled by the stage plunging into darkness and silence from the amps. A heavy bassline signalled a start to the proceedings and the stage was engulfed in a red hue as Teleman took to their positions on the stage. The unmistakable synth intro of ‘Fun Destruction’ rang out as the cheers from the crowd were dying down. The crowd really started grooving to ‘Family Of Aliens’, the title track of Teleman’s new album.

The setlist was always going to have a fair share of numbers from their new album, but Teleman mixed it up a bit with tracks from their previous two albums and some from their EPs. As Tom had told us in our interview, they also had some fun with the live numbers, with more instrumental interludes, where all the members of the band could show off their musical skills. They like to keep their shows simple, to let the music do its talking. The lights were subtle and fairly static, except for some elements of strobing during songs like ‘Cactus’ and the interaction with the audience was fairly minimal. In fact it was not until the end of ‘Repeater’, five songs in that Tom said ‘It’s nice to be back in Cambridge.’

It was obvious that the band like to jam in a live environment and like to play with sound. ‘Submarine Life’ was full of distortion, but also had Tom playing a tambourine and the band clearly enjoyed this number, as did the crowd. Pete Cattermole put down his bass at one stage and swapped places with Jonny Saunders. Tom proclaimed that if they were swapping over they were trying something new and said ‘That’s exciting isn’t it?’ The crowd responded with a ‘WOOHOO’. Now Pete and Jonny were on synths, accompanied with Hiro’s simple percussion as they preformed ‘Sea Of Wine’, a song that really showcases Tom’s vocals.

It was after this that we were treated to an insight into the Rock N Roll lifestyle of Teleman on tour. They had, had a nice day at the Botanical Gardens, but being the Rock N Roll Rebels they are they had broken in! Well when I say broken in they said they had just walked in really! This drew a lone ‘Good on Ya’ from one of the fans.

We were treated to a lot of numbers from ‘Family of Aliens’ in the first two thirds of the set, but then Teleman ramped things up with songs from their first album and EPs such as ‘Strange Combination’, ‘Not In Control’ and ‘Cristina’, the latter two being a surprise as they tend to be songs in the encore. The crowd had been moving more and more and by the end of ‘Song For A Seagull’ it was a writhing organic mass from the front of the stage to the back of the venue. This ramped up to a fenzy during the crowd pleasing ‘Not In Control’. This is normally a good time to exit stage left and leave the crowd wanting more, which is exactly what the band did. A drum machine played like the ticking of some unseen clock, and simple white lighting shone on the, now, empty stage.

Tom came onto the stage on his own for the first song of the encore. With a simple spot on him he performed a delightfully stripped down version of ‘Nights On Earth’. The show had seemed to flash by and there was only one song that could now finish off the night. Jonny, Pete and Hiro joined Tom on stage and ‘Dusseldorf’ capped the night. With a heavy drumbeat, hand clapping, everyone signing in unison and the whole place jumping, that is the perfect way to end a cheeky show on a school night.

Review by Tony Creek

Photos by Kane Howie

 

The Amazons Live at Cambridge Junction with Support Act Yonaka! 08/02/2018

On the 8th February 2018, well known venue, Cambridge Junction, opened it's doors to ticket holders filled with excitement to see English rock band, The Amazons, take to the stage.  With an entry fee of just £17 for fantastic performances and ample parking around the local leisure complex, the venue did not disappoint. Doors opened around an hour before the gig was planned to start. Within the venue there are three separate stages J1, J2, and J3 (Junctions 1, 2 and 3).  But for this night, it was all about the acts on the J1 stage.  

The Amazons are a Reading-based quartet that formed back in 2014. Since then the band had been shortlisted for the BBC's sound of 2017, nominated for Q’s Best Breakthrough Act and have even made an appearance on MTV’s Brand New 2017 list.  The band have also caught the attention of many radio DJ's including Radio 1's Clara Amfo, Annie Mac, Huw Stephens, Nick Grimshaw and Greg James. The lads have even found a big fan in Zane Lowe.  The awesome foursome (cheesy I know) are also produced by the Grammy nominated Catherine Marks (Wolf Alice and Foals). It looks like The Amazons are hotly tipped to make it big in 2018! The band's self-titled debut album is also out now!  

​Supporting and touring with The Amazons, are Brighton based group, Yonaka.  The band themselves describe their music as "dark alternate pop with heavy riffs." Yonaka's band members are Theresa Jarvis – Vocals, George Edwards – Guitar, Alex Crosby – Bass/Keys  and Robert Mason on Drums. 

​​In a darkened room filled with screams and cheers and after a short musical intro, the four members of Yonaka entered the stage to start their set with  a performance of their single "Ignorance", to which I and many individuals within the room were putting on our very best karaoke voices to sing along to.  During the high energy set, featuring fast paced lighting and stunning vocals from the band's vocalist Theresa Jarvis, they continued on to perform other singles including "Gods and Lovers", "WWBY (Wouldn't Wanna Be Ya)", the very intense and somber "All In My Head". We were also introduced to a new song titled "F**king With The Boss" – a song to which caused a tiny mosh pit form in the centre of the room.  The foursome kindly thanked their fans for "turning up" and continued on to promote the night's main act The Amazons and referring to them as "f**king amazing!"

As expected they finished their set with their most popular hit to date, "Bubblegum" to which the audience were asked to contribute with vocals along with the band on stage.  "Bubblegum" is a song that will be playing on loop in your head for a while. I've often found myself humming it to myself after seeing Yonaka perform for the first time at Truck Festival in 2017.  I really liked them back then and love them now! I am definitely looking forward to hearing more of their material in the future.  If you get a chance to see them live, then please do.  They are not an act that you would want to miss live. With lots of energy, great interaction with their audience and catchy pop/rock/alternative tracks, they are everything you'd expect from a band of their genre.  


After the excitement from the support act's performance, the majority of room was ramped up and ready for the main act of the evening to take centre stage.  Around 9pm teenage girls flocked to the front of the room clinging to the security barrier filled with excitement, fans repeatedly chanting "Am-A-Zons, Am-A-Zons!" and clearly a row of parents at the back of the room with their ecstatic teenagers in front them and their backs against the wall, that looked like they had been dragged to the venue against their will, with folded arms and yawns a plenty. 

As the chanting for the main act continued (and got considerably louder), eventually after a short wait, the band began to take their place on the stage under dim red and white lighting to perform their first song of the night "Stay With Me", which had almost the entire room bathed in strobe lighting and fans singing along too.  There were also head boppers and foot tappers as far as the eye could see.  Not including the poor bored and tired parents at the back of the room. Oh dear indeed. The four piece continued on to perform their second and third tracks of the evening – "Ultraviolet" (which has featured heavily on BBC Radio 1) and "Raindrops" before then speaking to their fans in the audience for the first time. Did they announce the title of their next song? Or perhaps thank everyone for coming to their show? Nope. They simply opened with "Hello, we are The Sherlocks!" Just Brilliant!

​​For those of you that don't already know, both artists, The Amazons and The Sherlocks have recently been involved in some rather amusing shenanigans on social media. Recently, the line up for Y Not Festival had been announced, and both acts are confirmed to perform at this popular event.  Yorkshire band, The Sherlocks were shown to appear on the fourth tier on the festival's poster. However, The Amazons are shown on the third tier of the promotional image. When The Sherlocks posted the image of the festival's line up on their social media feed the two acts had been swapped – rumour has it that the band photoshopped the original image to place themselves higher up in the third tier to replace The Amazons.  Whether the two bands are actually just enjoying some friendly banter or they genuinely don't get on, I don't know. But it certainly has caught the attention of the press and has had many people both perplexed and entertained. After all, entertainment is their game! 

​​During their show, the guys also pulled out a few surprises.  Including an incredible percussion solo from drummer Joe Emmett.  Honestly, I didn't want it to end.  It was that impressive! He was applauded with a huge roar of appreciation from the entire room of people.  Also, they included an awesome cover of T-Rex's 70's hit, "20th Century Boy". The last unexpected addition to their set was a clever move to introduce Theresa Jarvis, (vocalist in support act Yonaka) back onto the stage to perform "In My Mind" with the group.  The joining of the two acts was a brilliant idea, and worked to their advantage, creating excellent musical balance.


Throughout the evening ticket holders were in constant admiration for the band on stage. There were moments when the room was filled with people jumping and head banging. There were also times where all I could see was slow hands, phones and even a lighter (not really very safe, but oh well) in the air during tamer segments of The Amazons' set.  After performing their latest single "Black Magic", the guys left the stage and we were left once more in a darkened room. Like earlier in the evening, the chanting started again "Am-A-Zons! Am-A-Zons!". The foursome did return to the stage after around 3 minutes to finish their show with an encore performance of "Palace" and the hit that I, and most likely many others, were excited to see performed live. Their well known track "Junk Food Forever", which even encouraged a crowd surfer to come out of the centre of the room. During the their encore at the end of the night, one of the band members even stated "don't take this the wrong way, but I didn't think this was going to be this f**king amazing! Thank you".

​As much as I like The Amazons' music when hearing it recorded, I much preferred hearing it live. Their music inspires a great atmosphere when they are physically seen performing. It will be interesting to see them perform on a bigger stage and in front of a bigger audience too.  

Both The Amazons and Yonaka have a busy year ahead. The Amazons will also have a very busy festival season this year while appearing at events including Y Not Festival and Truck Festival in the summer months. Yonaka are also due to play at The Garage in Islington on 28th February 2018.  Everyone, grab your tickets now! 

For more photos click HERE!

Photos by Kane Howie